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Protecting Whistleblowers since 1977

First Day of National Whistleblower Assembly a Success

Beth Adelson, May 25, 2010

Colleen Rowley (center) speaks at the national security panel at the Whistleblower National Assembly, while Frank Serpico (left) and Franz Gayl (right) look on. Quite a few national media outlets have covered GAP's 2010 Whistleblower National Assembly, which features several prominent national security whistleblowers and GAP clients.

An article in the Kansas City Star discusses retaliation against GAP client and civilian Air Force mechanic George Sarris, who blew the whistle on lack of maintenance on reconnaissance planes. Sarris was a speaker on yesterday's national security panel at theAssembly. The article quotes Sarris:

“I have found inspections that are 17 years past due, hydraulic and fuel hoses that should have been changed 15 years ago, and recently several emergency system hoses that were 30-plus years past time change."

In exchange for reporting the poor maintenance, Sarris has been put under investigation by the government, had his security clearance revoked and been assigned him to an empty room with no tasks.

GAP client Franz Gayl, also a speaker at the NWA, was similarly retaliated against when he blew the whistle on bureaucratic mess in the Marine Corps that prevented the delivery of protective vehicles called MRAPs to troops in Iraq. An article on AOL News yesterday discusses the retaliation against Gayl, which includes being "stripped of his professional responsibilities, denied educational opportunities typically available to federal workers and subjected to a criminal probe." However, the Marines have seemingly adopted widespread usage of MRAPs since Gayl blew the whistle. AOL News writes:

"As for the vehicles that Gayl helped champion, the MRAP is now the norm for the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan. The vehicle is widely credited for preventing thousands of deaths.

'The irony,' [GAP Legal Director Tom] Devine said, 'is the Marines won't forgive him for that.'"Finally, in a Huffington Post op-ed GAP client and FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley and GAP Legal Director Tom Devine argue in a that enacting real whistleblower protections for national security workers and other federal employees leads to better safeguarding of the country. Rowley was also part of the national security panel yesterday at the NWA. Rowley and Devine argue:

"It is front lines government employees who actually do the work, respond to leads, conduct security checks, monitor procedures, and deal with passengers -- they are the ones who not only spot fraud, waste, and abuse but can also identify public safety problems. Without the freedom to warn for those on the front lines, the president and the public will keep getting blindsided.

The politicians need to stop stalling in the end game to restore a credible Whistleblower Protection Act. Delays could be deadly for Americans."


Beth Adelson is a Communications Fellow for the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leading whistleblower advocacy organization.